Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shohin Pyracantha

In the recent past I've been more and more interested in shohin trees. With these smaller guys, the devil is in the detail as the minuscule size will accentuate any flaws present on the finished bonsai tree. They also happen to be much easier to handle and come at a more friendly price. So I've set out this time of year to pick up some suitable shohin stock from local nurseries.

Got this from the Great Big Green House for a discounted price. You gotta love this time of year if for nothing else the cheaper stock.

Took some advice from Brian Van Fleet of and gave it the old chop since he's told me about their resilience to bonsai technique and propensity to backbud. I hear they're like weeds, akin to elms.

I was going to make a slew of cuttings but since the season would make that much more difficult and the plant stock is relatively cheap... picking my battles this time.

Here's some before and afters:

Is there a tree in there somewhere?


Set phasers to chop.

Ahh yes. There it is. 

Something along these line is what I'm thinking. In spring, this is repotted in something small yet not final, fed well and continuously pruned for shape and balance. Will be updated then. 

A thanks goes out to BVF for his information and inspiration.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cutting back a hornbeam

The first piece of material I ever dug was a hornbeam discussed here.

Here's a picture I just found of it after its first year on the bench:

And what was done about a year ago briefly:

This year, as it finishing up its second growing season, it's the first to drop all of its leaves as we enter into dormancy. The nights have been in the 50s and in the next few days the forecast warns of low 30s. Winter is upon us, seemingly.

Here's a look at it as it came off the bench. I snipped the top after leaf fall to more easily handle it. It was about 8 inches taller moments before this video was taken:

Jess and I cut it back hard to begin the long process of branch building for deciduous trees. This tree has but 3 main branches. Cutting back so hard will hopefully induce more adventitious buds to pop from the trunk. Time will tell. If not, we'll make do with what is there.

First step, let's take her down a few feet:

We cut back 2 branches both to the second bud. The goal is to start ramification early and promote taper. The lowest branch was growing straight up and was unable to be bent to an appropriate angle so it was replaced with the bud that lives on the bottom of all of these hornbeam brances. It seems any branch growing straight up and be replaced. Good to know for the future. There are a few hornbeam yet to be worked...

Top needs to be wired up.

A Makita die grinder helped carve down the top. Just roughed in for now.

And we're left here for now:

I'll keep you posted!